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Volume 58 No. 3 March 2012

Minutes of the 1118th Meeting

The 1118th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was held February 8, 2012 in the Chicago Bar Association Building, 321 S. Plymouth Court, Downtown Chicago. President Jeffrey Rosinia called the meeting to order at 6:45 PM with an attendance of 17 members and 2 guests, Wendy Bierly and Anne Anaszewicz.

A motion was passed to accept the January Minutes as published in the Chatter. In the absence of Treasurer Steve Zitowsky, the Secretary read a detailed report showing January income of $660.00, expenses of $336.92 and total assets of $18,674.26 held in Life Membership $1,670.00 and member equity $17,004.26. A motion was passed to approve the report.

President Rosinia reported the results of the January 18, 2012 meeting of the Board of Governors:

It was announced that the Club’s next meeting will be Saturday, March 10, 1 PM n conjunction with the Chicago Paper Money Expo in Rosemont with Neil Shafer, Milwaukee, WI speaking on Scrip from the Financial Panics of 1893, 1907, and 1914. The regular March meeting in Downtown Chicago will be the next Wednesday, March 14 with Clifford Mishler, Iola, WI speaking on Irradiated U.S. Dimes from the 1950s & 1960s.

Marc Stackler spoke on the success of the Club’s Facebook page. Using the projection system he showed the electronic site and discussed the security settings so no one signed up as a “friend” could see other’s name or email.

Mark Wieclaw, Host Chairman of 2013 ANA Convention in Chicago asked members to speak to him if they are interested in serving on the Convention Committee. He also announced a Convention Committee Meeting on March 28th.

In the absence of V.P. Elliott Krieter, the Secretary introduced the evening’s featured speaker Robert D. Leonard, Jr. who delivered a program on Banker’s Marks Throughout History from Antiquity to the 20th Century. Following a question and answer period, Robert was presented with an ANA Educational Certificate and an engraved Club medal.

The nine exhibitors were MARK WIECLAW: a Corinthian stater, an Athenian tetradrachm and a 1924 $20 gold piece; ROBERT FEILER: a 7 gram Italian gold medal of Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin; ROBERT WEINSTEIN: 4 ancient bronze coins from the Indo-Greek and Indo-Scythian kingdoms; ROBERT WALLACE: 7 counterfeit ancient coins sold to uneducated tourists; STEVE AMBOS: a heavily chop marked 8 reales of 1796; STEVE HUBER: a report from the New York International Coin Show; GERARD ANASZEWICZ: 2 Russian Yefimoks of 1655; ROBERT D. LEONARD, JR: 10 copper tokens and coins illustrating the decline and abolition of slavery; and RICHARD LIPMAN: U.S. $2 note with repeating serial number, 1923 $10 U.S. “Poker Chip” note, and a roll of tissue imprinted with Euro images.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:49 PM.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carl Wolf, Secretary

Speaker’s Wor[l]d
Banker’s Marks Throughout History — Five Episodes From Antiquity to the 20th Century

by Robert D. Leonard Jr.
presented to our February 8, 2012 meeting

From ancient times, bankers and merchants have examined the value and authenticity of the money they handle. At times, test marks have been made on coins, and at others, coins have been marked to confirm their worth. Five instances of such marking are as follows:

1. Ancient Silver Coins from India to Rome
Not long after the introduction of coins came the introduction of counterfeit coins, made of silver-plated base metal instead of solid silver; at least as early as 500 BC, the first plated Greek coin appeared. Plated Indian coins occur from the 3rd century BC, and plated Roman coins date from the introduction of Romano-Campanian coinage in 268 BC. From 124 to 37 BC, plated coins exist for virtually every moneyer of the Roman Republic. To avoid being cheated, coins were carefully examined, and sometimes marked, in the form of tiny symbols or monograms, if found acceptable. Nothing is known about who applied these marks (“banker’s” is a supposition of modern numismatists), nor when or where they were applied, but for Rome, at least, their occurrence corresponds closely to the prevalence of plated coins. They are far more common on Greek than Roman coins, however, especially those of Aegina, Lydia (Persian Empire), Phoenicia, and Ptolemaic Egypt. For Roman coins, they are usually found on denarii from the 2nd century BC through the reign of Augustus or a bit later. Indian karshapanas of the 6th through the 2nd centuries BC consist of little but punch marks on a flat silver flan; while these are probably official issues, some appear to have additional banker’s marks on the reverse. As late as circa 400 AD, similar banker’s marks are found on coins of the Western Satraps of India.


2. Byzantine Small Module Folles and Half Folles of Anastasius I
In 498 A.D. the Byzantine emperor Anastasius I reformed the copper currency, introducing much heavier coins marked with their denominations, including a 40 nummia or follis and a 20 nummia or half follis. About 20% of the folles are found privately marked on the reverse, by the denomination, to indicate that they should be accepted and paid at half their face value, after the weight of the copper coins was doubled in 512. Eleven varieties of punches are illustrated in Metcalf.


3. Ducats of Western Anatolia of the Mid-15th Century
Imitation Venetian gold ducats minted in Western Anatolia circa 1365-1450 occasionally occur with a variety of small test marks — dents or the impressions of rods or diamonds — all unpublished. This indicates that they probably all passed through the same market at about the same time.


4. Indian Shroff Marks
Indian shroffs were money changers and bankers, especially those who tested and evaluated coins. Their marks are found on silver and occasionally gold coins, from circa 1300 A.D. into the early 19th century. The practice is thought to have originated in Bengal. Three types of shroff marks are found: (1) identification marks, chops or small counterstamps, on the face of earlier coins and on the edge of thick Mughal coins; (2) drill holes (gasp!), on the face of the coins, and sometimes more than one; and (3) cancellation marks, large, deep chisel cuts. In later times, shroffs did not mark the coins of the state where they did business, for that would strip them of legal tender status, but only those of other native states.

By 1839 the practice of shroff marking had died out, as we learn from a letter written at Bombay (original spelling and capitalization retained): “In the Offences relating to Coin I should have been inclined to make the defacing of the Coin a penal Offence. The Practice is very common in this Country for petty Shroffs, who establish themselves in every Corner of a Bazaar or populous and much frequented Street, to prove, or what they term it, shroff Coins brought to them by the Public for that Purpose, and formerly they used always to stamp Coins so proved; this defaces the Coin, although it cannot be said to diminish the Weight or alter the Composition, Offences provided for in Clauses 246 and 247.”


5. Chinese and Other Chop Marks
Chop marks are mentioned in the records of the East India Company as early as 1776, and their use probably became general between 1780 and 1785, at least in the Canton (Kwangchow, Guangzhou) area. They were applied primarily by merchants, initially on Spanish-American silver dollars (8 reales) and later Mexican dollars and trade dollars of the United States and other countries. Smaller silver coins were occasionally marked too. In August 1935 the Shanghai banks announced that they would accept chop-marked coins only at a 10% discount, effectively ending the practice. Chops on Bust dollars and some later coins are tiny, while those on later dollars are large. Some appear to be in Malay, applied in the Straits Settlements.

A clear explanation of chop marking is found in an 1856 Chinese Commercial Guide: “In order to recognize coin once paid out, every comprador has a steel stamp, with which he strikes his name upon the face of the piece, and he will not receive a dollar back again upon which he cannot find his own stamp, or chop as it is called.”


Thanks to Elizabeth Hahn, Librarian — American Numismatic Society, for researching references to banker’s marks and for providing copies of pertinent articles.

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Show and Tell

Items shown at our February 8, 2012 meeting.

  1. Mark Wieclaw showed a range of items:
  2. Robert Feiler showed a piece he recently acquired: a private Italian piece, 7 grams of 90% gold, honoring Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space.
  3. Robert Weinstein showed recently acquired bronze coins:
  4. Bob Wallace has acquired many ancient coins over the years — to complement the evening’s presentation on countermarked genuine coins, Bob showed us the few fakes in his collection. Most are modern products, and he included amusing and cautionary tales for some:
  5. To complement the featured presentation on marked coins, Steve Ambos showed a heavily chopmarked 1796 8 reales from the Mexico mint.
  6. Steve Huber shared news from the New York International held in early January:
  7. Jerry Anascewicz showed two Russian yefimoks of 1655, issued by Alexei Mikhailovich, the second in the Romanov line. At that time, the 1 kopeck was the only Russian coin — the ruble of 100 kopecks exited only as a unit of account. To make coins to pay the troops fighting the Poles, the government marked Dutch talers. Both shown examples have a 1655 stamp as well as a horseman stamp — the date of one coin cannot be determined, but the date on the other is 1636.
  8. Robert Leonard showed coins and tokens illustrating the decline and abolition of slavery:
  9. After showing a recent large newspaper ad from a gold buyer including such terms as a “110% guarantee,” Rich Lipman showed a range of currency:

Our 1119th Meeting

Date:March 10, 2012, First session
Time:1:00 PM
Location:At the Chicago Paper Money Expo (CPMX), which is held at the Crown Plaza Chicago O’Hare, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL. No admission charge for our meeting.
Featured speaker:Neil Shafer - Scrip from the Financial Panics of 1893, 1907, and 1914

The collapse of railroad overbuilding set off the financial Panic of 1893. A failed attempt to corner United Copper Company stock triggered the Panic of 1907. The outbreak of World War I brought about a minor financial panic of 1914. In every instance, stock market prices plunged which set off a chain reaction. All funds were withdrawn from banks which led to their failure. Citizens hoarded coins and currency which closed many businesses. In response, business and individuals created scrip to keep commerce moving until consumer confidence returned. Neil Shafer is fond of saying “When a government cannot or will not supply enough currency to meet demand, then people step in and make it themselves.” Neil is a respected author and is currently researching this subject for a book now in progress. Join our membership at this educational program open to the public and hear the stories behind these financial emergencies and see examples of the resulting scrip.

Date:March 14, 2012, Second session
Time:6:45 PM
Location:Downtown Chicago
At the Chicago Bar Association, 321 S. Plymouth Court, 3rd floor meeting room. Please remember the security measures at our meeting building: everyone must show their photo-ID and register at the guard’s desk. Nearby parking: South Loop Self Parking Ramp at Van Buren & Federal Streets; that is two short blocks west of our meeting site. Note: Their typical rate of $29 is reduced to $6 if you eat at the Plymouth Restaurant, 327 S. Plymouth Court (next to our meeting site at the CBA), show them your parking ticket, and ask the restaurant for a parking voucher. The restaurant offers standard sandwiches, burgers, and salads for members who want to meet for dinner.
Featured speaker:Clifford Mishler - Irradiated U.S. Dimes from the 1950s & 1960s

The American Museum of Atomic Energy, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, created a unique numismatic collectible during the 1950s & 1960's. Visitors to the museum presented a silver dime which was exposed to radiation. The radioactive silver had a 22 second half-life and the radioactivity decayed rapidly. After the dimes passed under a Geiger counter to register the radiation reading, they were put into plastic encasements, and given back to the visitor. All this was done to provide Americans with a demonstration on the principle of neutron activation. The irradiator went to the 1964 New York’s World Fair where visitors received their dime back in a special blue plastic encasement with an atomic logo. Some estimate the number of dimes exposed to radiation at 250,000 or more. Be sure to attend this program and hear Cliff tell the story of this unique collectible and dispel some of the theories and claims that have circulated in recent years.

Important Dates

March 9-11 17th Annual Chicago Paper Money Expo (CPMX) at the Crown Plaza Chicago O’Hare, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL. Admission is $5 for Friday and Saturday; free on Sunday.
March 10 CCC Meeting - 1pm at the Chicago Paper Money Expo, which is held at the Crown Plaza Chicago O’Hare, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL. No admission charge for our meeting.
Featured Speaker - Neil Shafer on Scrip from the Financial Panics of 1893, 1907, and 1914
March 14 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Clifford Mishler on Irradiated U.S. Dimes from the 1950s & 1960s
April 11 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Bill Bierly on “In God We Trust” on U.S. Coinage
April 19-21 73rd Anniversary Convention of the Central States Numismatic Society at the Schaumburg Renaissance Hotel & Convention Center, 1551 North Thoreau Drive, Schaumburg, IL. For details, refer to their website,
April 21 CCC Meeting - 1pm at the CSNS Convention, which is held at the Schaumburg Convention Center. No admission charge for our meeting.
Featured Speaker - Walter Ostromecki on Paranormal Coins & Currency
April 27-29 36th annual Chicago International Coin Fair (CICF) at the Crown Plaza Chicago O’Hare, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL. Admission is $5 for Friday and Saturday; free on Sunday.
April 28 CCC Meeting - 1pm at the Chicago International Coin Fair (CICF), which is held at the Crown Plaza Chicago O’Hare, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL. No admission charge for our meeting.
Featured Speaker - to be announced
May 9 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - David Simpson on Crowns & Ryals of the Stuart Monarchs
June 13 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Andrew Reiber on Box Thalers and Dollars

Chatter Matter

All correspondence pertaining to Club matters should be addressed to the Secretary and mailed to:

P.O. Box 2301

Club Officers

Jeffrey Rosinia- President
Elliott Krieter- First Vice President
Richard Lipman- Second Vice President
William Burd- Archivist
Directors:Robert Feiler
Eugene Freeman
Marc Stackler
Carl Wolf
Other positions held are:
Carl Wolf- Secretary
Steve Zitowsky- Treasurer
Paul Hybert- Chatter Editor
Robert Feiler- ANA Club Representative

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